At the March 19, Public Hearing on the Bayside project, residents voiced their concerns to the Marlborough Planning Board on a residential housing development that has been proposed for a 25 acre parcel off Route 9W, with Purdy Avenue on its north side and the Middle School on the south.
The project has been under consideration for more than a decade before finally settling on a total of 104 units, with 84 two and 20 three bedroom rental apartments, contained in five buildings. The two bedrooms will be 1,000 sq/ft and the three bedrooms will be 1,200 sq/ft in size.
There will be 208 parking spaces for the residents [two per unit] and 16 spaces for visitors. Most of parking will flank the interior sides of the buildings with only some on the outer sides.
An emergency gated access is proposed from Purdy Avenue and will not be used on a daily basis. A storm water area will be built on the backside of the parcel and will also be gated to allow for maintenance.
On the far western side of the parcel, 7.4 acres of wetlands that have been designated by the Army Corps of Engineers will remain untouched. The main entrance in to the development will be from Route 9W at the traffic light that is opposite the elementary school, with the first 750 feet a town road and the remainder as private. The developer is also proposing to provide a driveway that will service the Middle School and will meet at this same light on Rte. 9W as well as an additional 28 parking spaces along the existing school driveway.
The developer is also proposing a 2.4 acre lot that fronts onto Route 9W for future commercial development. The plans show a 12,600 sq/ft two-story building, which may receive a Business Overlay District designation.
The project is to be built in sequence, starting with the clearing of 8.2 acres followed by the installation of the roadway and storm water areas. Construction of the buildings will then commence along with the requisite utilities. The last portion will be the commercial segment facing Rte. 9W, however there are no interested tenants at this time. A landscaping plan across the parcel has also been developed.
The Town Engineer noted that this project was subject to a full environmental review and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement [DEIS]. Additionally a Final Environmental Impact Statement [FEIS] and findings were adopted by the Town Board, who were the lead agency for this project, ensuring that all environmental issues had been fully vetted prior to the public site plan hearing process.
Matt Kierstead, who is involved in economic and historic matters in town, said, “I don’t oppose the project [and] I think its great that we’re getting some residential density that’s in the hamlet.” In addition, he advocated for saving a WWI era structure that is on the property.
Patrick Witherow, Director of Business and Finance for the Marlboro School District, said the school supports the project and believes they will see improvements to their flow of traffic and enhancements to safety at the Middle School with this project.
Sheila Mannese warned that the number of additional vehicles generated by this project could significantly impact travel in the hamlet and may effect the aesthetics of the area. She urged the board to “look at the big picture” of what could potentially happen in the future.
Bonnie and Rosemary Lyons said they are worried that this project will significantly interfere with their deeded right of access to a water supply that is on the proposed development site. They submitted documentation to the Planning Board to back their claim.
Peter Herbst questioned “Why that spot for that project?” especially with two schools in close proximity and on “the busiest road in the world, Rte. 9W.”
“It seems ridiculous to go through this whole thing so you can put five buildings up there; it doesn’t seem like it makes any sense…This is going to be a big problem before it’s over.”
The developer has stated that this project will generate 20 school age children, a figure Herbst questioned.
“Who would have a three bedroom apartment without a couple of kids? I think you’re figuring a little low,” he said.
Vincent Porcelli asked the board to consider the destruction that may occur next to a given project and what recourse an individual has to either stop it or receive help from the town.
Porcelli said law enforcement should pay close attention to see if sex offenders are living in this project who could jeopardize the safety of the children in the immediate area and in the community at large.
Richard Gerentine said if any project is planning to build in phases, “how are we assured that the work’s going to be completed?” He said the Planning Board can control the different phases so, “we don’t have a whole area that’s disturbed and five or six years later it’s still disturbed and looks like an eyesore for the neighbors.” He said even if this project is not built in phases there is no time guarantee of when they have to finish construction, with the town engineer in agreement, saying “It’s strictly market driven.” The developer, however, said the intent is to build each building one after the other, which may take from 2 to 3 years.
Jo Giunta said getting out of Purdy Avenue now is problematic and with this new project added, “Purdy Avenue is going to be a mess to take a left hand turn out of and that’s anytime during the day, not just in the morning or the afternoon. What is the town going to be doing so we don’t get stuck?”
By a vote of 4-3 the board closed the Public Hearing and set April 16 as the deadline for the acceptance of written comments. In favor of closing the hearing were Steve Clarke, Cindy Lanzetta, Joel Truncali and Joseph Lofaro. Those in the minority who voted to keep it open until the next meeting were Ben Trapani, Manny Cauchi and Chairman Chris Brand.
By Mark Reynolds